Anyone reading this knows the 2020 sailing season didn’t go as planned. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted everything just as the racing season in North America was getting started.
Ballard Cup I and Ballard Cup II didn’t happen. Ballard Cup III did, however, thanks to the efforts of the all-volunteer folks at the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club.
And it was glorious fun.
The final race of the series had a number of boats in Class 7 all in a position to claim 3rd place behind Poke and Destroy and Different Drummer. One Life plus the J/105s Creative, Peer Gynt, and Corvo 105 were all within a point or two in the overal standings with Creative holding the advantage.
For our part, we did everything we could do in the final race. We had a good start and sailed precisely the course we wanted to the windward mark. We had an amazing gybe set and were in good position headed downwind. We made good decisions, had a good douse, and then the wind gods started mucking about.
Like the rest of the fleet, we got caught up in a real washing machine after rounding the West Point mark. Big waves from a container ship colliding with the outflow from the shipping canal wasn’t great, especially with the winds dying.
We couldn’t find a steady wind pretty much anywhere we tried, emphasizing for me what a miserable wind hole the stretch east of the Ship Canal and north of the Discovery Park buildings can be.
In the 8th and final race, we came home 4th in our class, correcting out to fifth. That was enough to hold off both Peer Gynt and Corvo 105 in the overall standings, but not enough to climb over Creative. We ended up fourth in class and 11th overall in the 30+ boat Monday night fleet.
While we had our hopes up to finish on the podium going into the final two races, I’m really proud of the crew for our performance. We were racing with some of the fastest boats in Puget Sound. One Life is a brand new boat, still in the process of shaking out all the kinks. The crew is all new as well, never sailing before together as a crew. If you would have told me in February we’d get 4th in class in our first Ballard Cup Series, I would have been over-the-moon happy.
And indeed I am.
Shouts out to all our competitors, too. We got great feedback from many of them and had a great time racing against all of them. The STYC folks were amazing for getting racing started and for running the series on a COVID-19 mandated shoestring of on-the-water committee people.
There’s lots of racing to be done still in 2020, but I can’t wait for Ballard Cup 2021. Here’s to hoping things will be closer to normal by then.